Chinese pull plug on French tech park: French official

16th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

Franco-Chinese plans to set up a business and technology park on a 130-hectare site in eastern France, have bitten the dust three years after they were first mooted, local authorities said Wednesday.

The project was to have created some 3,000 jobs but was abandoned after proposed Chinese investment failed to materialise, the head of the Moselle administrative area, Patrick Weiten, told AFP.

TerraLorraine, which had been mooted as a purely privately-financed initiative, was to have provided a focal point for trade between Chinese SMEs and local French firms in an industrial region left reeling by the crisis in the steel industry.

Weiten said he learnt last week that China's Comex Holdings had pulled out of the project on the grounds that online commerce had grown to the extent that the park was no longer viable.

The Chinese investment holding company would therefore "fall back on their domestic market," Weiten said.

"It's disappointing the plan isn't going ahead but I don't regret having tried," Weiten added, saying he would chase other investment avenues.

Comex had invested some five million euros ($5.2 million) in the site's basic access infrastructure since 1997, which would remain, Weiten noted.

The company was not available for comment late Wednesday.

Local people are comparing the tech park to another failed regional scheme to develop a light aircraft.

The French firm behind that project, GECI International, went into liquidation last year.

© 2015 AFP

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